AZUSA, Calif.-- After routing Lubbock Christian on Thursday night, the NAIA’s top-ranked Azusa Pacific showed that it’s fast paced season opening win wasn’t just a flash in the pan as the Cougars improved to 2-0 after beating Wayland Baptist (0-1) 82-54 on Friday.
Azusa Pacific out-rebounded the Flying Queens 49-25, thanks in large part to Amber Williams’ 17 boards, and shot 50 percent from the field as the Cougars led by as many as 35 on the night.
“Any time you double the other team’s rebounds you know you’re doing something right. Defensively we played well,” said Head Coach T.J. Hardeman after his team held Wayland Baptist to a 33.3 percent clip from the field.
Briana Hall scored 19 points and found her teammates for eight buckets. In fact 20 of the Cougars’ 28 field goals were off assists.
“I think [Hall] is the best guard in the country. She runs the show,” said Hardeman about his senior captain. “Everyone has confidence when she has the ball. It’s a luxury to have someone like that in our system for four years.”
Fellow senior Jasmyn Reed was a perfect 7-7 from the floor as she finished with 14 points.
Amanda Sims followed up her 22-point Cougar debut with a 20-point (7-9 from the field), four assist effort, while Tianna Jones tallied an efficient (2-3) six points and four assists.
The Cougars opened the game with a Sims jumper, but Wayland Baptist quickly tied it up when Alex Williams hit a two. A few possessions later Hall scored on a layup to give Azusa Pacific the lead for good.
At the 11:57 mark Maddy Barrett got an offensive board off a Hall missed. The freshman forward quickly found Hall cutting in the lane, who then dumped it off to Reed on the right baseline for a layup. The play was just two points for the home team, but it summed up the Cougars’ play all night as Azusa Pacific outscored Wayland Baptist 22-14 in the paint and held a 20-13 edge in assists.
At the half the Cougars led 46-25 due to sharp shooting from the outside as they hit 5-9 from 3-point land compared to Wayland Baptist’s 3-13 from beyond the arc.
The second half was much of the same. Azusa Pacific made 12 of 24 shots (4-9 on threes), and finished the night an even 50 percent from the field.
The Cougars take the court again next Friday against Lewis-Clarke State (Idaho) for a 5:30 p.m. tip in the Felix Event Center.